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Crime

Prolific child rapist from Pembrokeshire jailed for life

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A PEMBROKESHIRE man who raped and sexually assaulted young children, and posted images of the abuse to other paedophiles on the dark web, has been jailed for life.

Martyn Armstrong was identified after specialist National Crime Agency investigators reversed distortion filters he used to disguise his face in the images. The abuse began 17 years ago in June 2005 and continued to February 2011.

The 50-year-old was stopped and arrested by South Wales Police officers while driving on the M4 on 30 July 2022, following a request by the NCA.

Law enforcement partners across the world had been trying to identify the man in the abuse material ever since it was posted in 2010.

The images were referred to the NCA by Australian Federal Police in 2013, after they established they had been posted on dark web site, The Love Zone.

Some of the images showed the rape and sexual abuse of a toddler but, at that time, the perpetrator could not be identified because the images had been distorted.

In 2017 Italian investigators linked the name “Martyn” to the person who took the images, but they were unable to progress the case further.

In the same year a French investigator adopted the case and worked on identifying a beach which had been seen in some images linked to the offender.

After conducting significant research on the geology of the landscape, he established that rocks on the beach in the photo must either be in Ireland or Wales. He compared them to images of over 60 beaches before striking an exact match on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.

The case remained unsolved until 2022, when NCA investigators created a new programme which finally disabled the image distortion technique. This revealed the face of the offender but his identity, and that of his victim, was still unknown.

The NCA team worked on the name “Martyn” and established that a Martyn Armstrong had links to the beach, by matching an image from his social media profile with the abuse images.

It was discovered that at the time of the abuse, Armstrong lived in Derbyshire but he had sold his house in January 2022 and moved close to the same Welsh beach identified by investigators.

Officers compared and matched pictures from the estate agency listing for the Derbyshire house to some of the original abuse images taken in 2009.

Following his arrest, NCA investigators found a number of devices in Armstrong’s home, including one of the two cameras he used in 2010. This was forensically matched to the camera which took the images.

The original indecent images of children (IIOC) he’d posted were also recovered from a laptop.

Investigators also discovered material showing Armstrong abusing two previously unknown child victims saved on his devices. All three victims were spoken to and safeguarded.

Armstrong was charged with 20 counts of rape on a child under 13, one count of assault by penetration, three counts of sexual assault, five counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and one count of making and one count of distributing 204 category A (the most serious) IIOC.

He pleaded guilty to these offences at Cardiff Crown Court on 21 September 2022.

He then pleaded guilty to further charges on 10 November, including being in possession of 4,105 IIOC (in categories A-C), two counts of assault by penetration, one count of sexual assault, one count of making and one count of distributing IIOC in relation to the second victim and one count of making and one count of distributing IIOC relation to the third victim.

At the same court today (4 January), he was sentenced to life in prison with no minimum term.

NCA Operations Manager Martin Ludlow said: “It is over 17 years since Armstrong began to abuse these young children. I don’t believe he thought he would ever be caught and that the distortion techniques he used would protect him.

“However, the NCA and our international partners were determined to ensure his evil actions did not go unpunished.

“Our commitment to identifying him was unwavering and ultimately, NCA officers developed a completely new programme which led to his unmasking. Investigators did a remarkable job in piecing together limited information to finally reveal that Armstrong was the person in these images.

“We will continue to work together and do all we can to bring offenders like Armstrong to justice and protect innocent children from child sexual abuse.”

Lucy Dowdall of the CPS said: “The abuse that Armstrong subjected his victims to was horrific.

“Despite the passage of time and the steps he had taken to hide his identity, the CPS built a robust case against him resulting in guilty pleas.

“The investigation conducted by the NCA officers was exceptional, and we thank them for their diligent work.

“The CPS are committed to bringing those who sexually abuse children to justice, whenever our legal test is passed, and we will continue to work with our partners in the police to do so.”

BOX OFF

Charge sheet

For victim one (between December 2009 and February 2011):
20 x of rape of a child under 13
One x assault by penetration
Three x sexual assault
Five x causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity
One x making indecent images of children (204 category A images)
One x distributing indecent images of children (204 category A images)

For victim two (between January 2005 and January 2007):
Two x assault by penetration
One x sexual assault
One x making indecent image of a child
One x distributing an indecent image of a child

For victim three (in August 2010):
One x making an indecent image of a child
One x distributing an indecent image of a child

General possession of IIOC (between January 2005 and July 2022):
One x category A (789 images)
One x category B (989 images)
One x category C (2,327 images)

Crime

Man found not guilty of stalking beauty salon owner

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FRANK JANIUREK, 43, of Heol Glyndwr in Fishguard, has been acquitted of stalking the owner of a beauty salon after a trial at Swansea Crown Court. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict following approximately two-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

Janiurek was accused of causing serious alarm or distress to the woman between 25 March and 10 July 2022. The prosecution claimed that after receiving a facial treatment at the salon on 8 March 2022, Janiurek began sending numerous emails and making frequent calls to the salon, often repeating questions that had already been answered. He was also alleged to have walked past the salon daily and liked one of the complainant’s Instagram pictures using an account under a false name. Additionally, it was claimed that he stared at the complainant for an extended period while she was out in Cardigan celebrating her birthday.

Caitlin Brazel, prosecuting, argued that these actions constituted stalking, causing serious alarm or distress. However, Janiurek pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Matthew Murphy, defending Janiurek, contended that the complainant had not directly communicated her discomfort to the defendant until 1 June. Murphy stated, “She doesn’t tell him anything about his behaviour and the effect it’s having on her before June 1.” He argued that if the complainant felt uncomfortable, she should have been more direct in her communication.

Murphy also highlighted that the complainant’s actions, such as signing off emails with ‘All the best’ and stating she had an injured arm and was not taking on new clients, did not clearly indicate that she wanted the contact to end. He noted that Janiurek, who is neurodivergent and has Asperger’s syndrome, was primarily engaging with the business, not the complainant personally. Murphy emphasised that all of Janiurek’s messages were related to beauty treatments, except for one occasion when he inquired about the complainant’s injured arm.

Regarding the Instagram picture, Murphy pointed out that it was posted on the business’s account, not the complainant’s personal account.

Recorder David Elias KC, who presided over the trial, thanked the jury for their careful consideration of the case. Following the not guilty verdict, Janiurek was allowed to leave the dock, having been acquitted of all charges.

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Crime

Cannabis factory with over 800 plants found in west Wales drugs bust

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POLICE in Carmarthenshire made a major drugs bust this week when they found over 800 cannabis plants in what was supposed to be a vacant property.

A 26-year old man was arrested and has now been remanded into custody.

The police are appealing for information and have released photographs of the illicit cannabis production facility.

A police spokesperson told The Herald on Friday (May 24): “Dyfed Powys Police executed a warrant at the Mountain Gate, Tycroes, Ammanford on Tuesday May 21.

“The vacant property was found to have a large hydroponic set up inside, with approx. 800 cannabis plants seized by officers.

“One man, Beni Mirashi age 26, was arrested and was charged with being concerned in the production of cannabis.

“He appeared at Llanelli Magistrates Court on 23 May and was remanded to next appear at Swansea Crown Court on June 24.”

Police asked that if anyone has any information that may support officers in their investigation, they are asked to contact us either through a direct message on social media, online at: 
https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing [email protected], or by calling 101

Quoting reference: 24*459007

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Crime

Girl to stand trial for stabbing teachers and teenager

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A GIRL accused of stabbing two teachers and a teenager will face trial later this year.

The now 14-year-old, who cannot be named due to her age, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder. The victims, teachers Fiona Elias and Liz Hopkin, along with a teenage student, were injured in the incident at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman on Wednesday, 24 April.

All three victims received treatment for knife wounds and were discharged from hospital shortly afterwards.

In addition to the attempted murder charges, the girl was charged with possession of a bladed article on school premises. She was remanded to youth detention accommodation after appearing at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 26 April.

The defendant spoke only to confirm her name and was not asked to enter any pleas at Swansea Crown Court on 24 May.

Judge Geraint Walters ordered the defendant to appear in court again on 12 August, with a three-week trial scheduled to begin on 30 September.

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